WEDDING DANCES - Slow, Fast
ithacadance.com

A. Connect to the Music - Relax into the music. This is my best description of listening to date. Relax into what your are hearing. Of course, if you don't like the song, that is a different matter!

B. Connect to the Earth
- Relax the hips and knees a bit as if you were just about to sit. Your center of gravity lowers. Feel your weightedness. Feel how the floor or ground feels to the bottom of your feet. You feel relaxed, but you have energy and awareness. This is a "playing readiness" posture. You are in a way receiving energy from the earth in this manner. Push off the floor into weight shifts - a step has a full change of weight to the new side.

C. Connect to your own Body - Relax your shoulders. Rotate them a bit to relax them. They can bounce a bit, too. Relax your neck muscles. Let your head be free to move. Your default free arm position is roughly parallel to the earth, so it can move expressively, a little or a lot. Free hand is relaxed, not in a "dance claw." Elbows are in front of torso, "never" behind.

D. Connect to your Partner

• Psychologically: Relax into your partner; look at your partner at the start of the dance Smile. In some cultures, direct eye contact is discouraged, and you don't want to stare at your partner the whole time anyway. But at least check in!

• Physically: In both closed and open position, there is energy away from each other, as your are both sitting back a bit. There is a big difference between choreography and lead-follow partner dance. The leader is essentially choreographing stream of consciousness, but knowing enough in advance to communicate to the follower. The follower waits, listens, responds. But we are not just leaders and followers! We are dancers - expressive, fun, even artistic at times. Whatever part of you is not touching your partner is free to move any way you wish.

• Ladies: wait for the lead. Better to be late than early. If he is not dancing to the music, dance to his rhythm. If the guy is a totally baffled newbie, you could try offering to backlead for a bit.

• Guys: be kind, not rough, but have firm, smoothly generated, well-defined, rhythmic leads, that don't come in at the very last microsecond. Your partner needs some time to respond in rhythm.

Wedding Dances - Slow
basic sequence - SS QQQQ (side balance steps)
follower's OT (and styling, options)
promenade (and styling, pivot, F's Turn, rocking)
cuddle dip, outside partner fwd and circle
skater's and its' variations (pivot, F's Turn, rocking)
outside partner fwd walk (Right, Left)
extended open promenade with shoulder-hands
F's walk around (VAR: L kneels, VAR: F sits on L's knee)
Left couples rocking turns
serpentine (closed, skaters)
beanbag walk (promenade - L stops and switches positions)
grapevine
leans: side, cuddle, front, back

Wedding Dances - Fast
basic turning - step to the beat
step-touch step-touch variation
accordian turns (carousel turns)
place change F's IT, L's OT
alt hand F's passes
rope turns
cuddle lean
cuddle to frisbee, to open basic
outside partner do-si-do walk
butterfly
outside partner pivot (L starts with rocking step in 1H)
multiple F's IT
Cannonball jump
Pretzel

CLOSED POSITION (all dances)
1. Torsos roughly parallel.
2. L offset to left, R feet point are between the other's feet.
3. F's back in L's RH, as L & F about to sit on a high stool.
4. L cups L's RH on F's closest shoulder blade.
5. F's L arm rests on L's R upper arm.
6. L's R arm is high so F's tricep rests on L's forearm.
7. When turning, L extends L's R arm to give F space
8. L's R arm is firm, but it varies - let F go back for RS,
firming more for couples turns.

OPEN POSITION (all dances)
1. Sit back a bit as if on a high stool.
2. Forearms are low. L begins leverage. F matches it.
3. Arms firm, but not rock-like. Springy, but steady-ish.
4. Feel pull in fingers, forearm, bicep, not shoulder joint.
5. Connect with muscle tone in FINGERS: no thumbs.
6. Arm and finger muscle tone will increase and decrease for turns and place change moves.
7. Firm up your lead arm as a turn ends in open position.
8. Improvise funky rhythms with your free hand, shoulders, head, legs, NOT your connected hand.

TURNS: for the one turning (all dances)
1. Turn under the hand connection, fingers go first
2. Use your partner's hand as a pivot point. Don't push up:
leverage down slightly. L's: No cranking.
3. Step close to your partner.
4. Keep turn hand in front of turner's head. L watch F as she turns. Gliding pivot in fingers/ turning hand.
5. L's: keep an eye on F during a turn. You'll lose her if she gets too far away.

 Salsa Dance Ithaca